How to use Nestabilities dies

Dulcie Jackson – card making expertNestabilities dies are a must-have for cardmakers of all levels. But why are they so popular and how do you use them? Card making expert Dulcie Jackson explains all you need to know...



Nestabilities dies and die-cutting machines


Spellbinders’ Nestabilities dies are perfect for creating professional- looking framed images on your handmade cards.

If you’ve seen a handmade card beautifully layered with coordinating scalloped circles and wondered:

"How did they make it look so neat?"

the answer is here. It was almost certainly made using Nestabilities.

Nestabilities dies create perfect shapes every time without the need for measuring and trimming.You simply place a piece of card on your chosen die, roll it through your die-cutter and a pristine shape emerges.

The dies can also be used to cut apertures, frame greetings and make tags. You can mix and match shapes from different sets – like plain circles with scalloped circles – making them very versatile.

 Handmade card using Nestabilities dies
This cute card was made using plain and
scalloped oval and circle Nestabilities dies


How to use them


Nestabilities oval die1. Choose a Nestabilities die to frame your
image. Cut a piece of white card large enough
to cover the die. Follow your die-cutter’s
instructions and place the die onto the cutting
pad, with the metal line facing upwards.






Card oval cut using Nestabilities die2. Place the card over the die.
Place the other cutting pad
on top, to make a ‘sandwich’.
Roll the sandwich through your
die-cutter, turning the handle until
a white card oval pops out on
the other side.





Colour your stamped image

3. Choose a scalloped oval shape that’s a little larger than the plain oval. Repeat steps 1-2 using this die with different coloured card to create a scalloped oval shape. Stamp your image onto the white oval and colour in. (Alternatively attach stickers or rub-ons as your main image.)



Handmade card using plain and scalloped oval nestabilities4. Layer the shapes together, as shown, to create a framed image. Attach to a base card decorated with card and ribbon. Create a smaller framed greeting using the same technique. Attach to the base with sticky fixers for a 3D effect.




Dulcie Jackson - cardmaking expert


Dulcie's top tips

1. Deciding which sets of Nestabilities dies to buy can be confusing – there are several straight-edged and scalloped-edged sets that look very similar. I found that was a good place to order from as they tell you which sets work together.

2. Nestabilities dies are compatible with all the major die-cutting brands, including the Big Shot, Cuttlebug and The Wizard. Each set comes with instructions explaining how to use them with each of these brands.

3. If you have a new Big Shot you won’t need any extra cutting pads, as the Multipurpose Platform that comes with this model can be adjusted for wafer-thin dies. Older models will need an Extended Adaptor to cut Nestabilities dies. Alternatively, you can always buy a Multipurpose Platform for your older model.

4. When you cut a shape with Nestabilities, the die embosses a line around the edge of the shape. If you want this embossed edge to show, place your card image-side down over the die when cutting.

For more top tips on using Nestabilities visit


More ideas with Nestabilities


Cutting apertures

Aperture cut using Nestabilities die
Nestabilities are great for cutting professional apertures in your base cards. You can use any size base so long as its height will fit through the width of your die-cutter. Cover the front of your base with patterned paper. Choose
a die and place it on the cutting pad. Open out the base and place on top of the die, with the patterned side facing down and positioned lengthways, so it can feed through the machine. Roll through the machine to make the cut. Decorate the aperture with flowers and stamp a greeting inside, to finish.


Framing images

Framed image made using Nestabilities dies

The most popular and useful way to use Nestabilities is for framing stamped images. The best way to do this is to choose two shapes that match each other, like an oval/scalloped oval, or a square/scalloped square. This mini card uses two dies from the same pack. The inner shape is cut from white card, then stamped and coloured, while the frame is cut from brown card. Layer the shapes together with sticky fixers, for a 3D effect.




Easy tags

Gift tag made using Nestabilities dies

Make quick and easy tags with Nestabilities. Die-cut a selection of different-sized shapes from patterned and plain card. Stamp a greeting onto the smallest. Punch a hole and set an eyelet through all the shapes, then tie with ribbon. You can use lots of other shapes to make tags like this, so experiment with whatever sets you have.







Oriental card featuring greetings made using Nestabilities
Nestabilities aren’t just good for framing large images – they’re fab for presenting little greetings too. From tiny tags to rounded panels, there’s plenty of choice. Here, the smallest shape from the Blossoms Nestabilities set has been matched with a tiny circle die, to create three small greetings panels. You can stamp on top of the die-cut circles, or print out your chosen phrase and die-cut it to size afterwards.





Where to buy them

The thin metal dies come in all sorts of shapes and are sold in sets with different sizes that fit inside each other. Each set costs approximately £19.99 from


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Question about using dies and plates

19th July 2010

Is there a way to use the dies without scratching my cuttlebug plates?

Thanks for the ideas!  These are great!


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